US, Russia resumes stalled missile talks

US, Russia resumes stalled missile talks

US, Russia resumes stalled missile talks

Russian Defense Minister Shoigu voiced his desire to reconvene with Washington for the stalled missile talks. REUTERS photo

Russian and U.S. defense chiefs signaled March 25 their intention to reconvene long-stalled missile defense talks, the Pentagon said, following a change in U.S. missile defense plans for Europe that has been met cautiously by Moscow.

The Pentagon said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu expressed a desire to reconvene the talks, and that U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel assured him they would continue and would be carried forward by the Pentagon’s policy chief, Jim Miller. Hagel said the desire to maintain discussions on the issue at deputy minister level were “an important part of U.S.-Russian relations.”

No talks since 2011

There have been no meetings at the deputy minister-level since 2011, when six were held, a U.S. defense official said. Talks set for 2012 were canceled because of scheduling conflicts.

“We are very interested in further developments on the European missile defense and our minister offered to restart regular consultations on that between deputy ministers,” Anatoly Antonov, a deputy of Shoigu, was quoted as saying by Russian news agency RIA.

The news came after an announcement on March 16 that the United States would station 14 new anti-missile interceptors in Alaska in response to North Korean provocations, but at the same time forgoes a new type of interceptor that would have been deployed in Europe. Moscow concerns that U.S. missile defenses could threaten its security.

U.S. Adm. James Stavridis, NATO supreme allied commander Europe, noted Russia’s concerns in an article published on NATO’s website on March 25 but said: “We strongly disagree.” “And (we) feel that the system is clearly designed to protect populations against Iran, Syria and other ballistic-missile capable nations that threaten the European continent,” Stavridis wrote.

Compiled from AFP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.